Wednesday, December 2, 2009

TMQ: Brett Favre & The Vikings

ESPN's Tuesday Morning Quaterback columnist Gregg Easterbrook's commentary on The Minnesota Vikings 10-1 start,

"Good golly, Miss Molly, the Vikings look good. With strong lines on both sides of the ball, Minnesota may have the best overall pair of lines in football, and the sport is, foremost, about line play. Brett Favre looks spectacular -- 24 touchdown passes versus three interceptions, a ratio that appears to be a misprint. Of course, all quarterbacks suddenly become more talented when the blocking is good: Against Chicago, Favre stood back and calmly surveyed the field; he was sacked just once and hit only one other time. Not getting hit, owing to great blocking, is a key to Favre's season. Perhaps he sensed the downhill course the Green Bay offensive line was on two years ago. This season, the Packers have allowed 44 sacks, worst in the league. If Favre had been sacked that many times, his season would be quite different. And great line play at Minnesota isn't just from brand-name athletes such as Kevin Williams and Steve Hutchinson. The undrafted Artis Hicks had a perfect pull block on Percy Harvin's 35-yard rush that set Minnesota's early tone against the Bears.

Last season, Favre's play declined as cold weather arrived in New Jersey. Brett knew what he was doing by signing with a dome team. The Vikings' remaining away games are at Arizona, Carolina and Chicago -- only one cold-weather date. Then Minnesota will have at least one indoor playoff date, perhaps two depending on its record or whether the Vikings travel to the dome in New Orleans. If Minnesota reaches the Super Bowl, that's in Florida. Favre may end up with just one bad-weather appearance all season. Maybe that's the reason for his rejuvenation. Or maybe back in a locked room at his place in Sumrall, Miss., there is a mysterious portrait of him that visibly ages each time he throws for a touchdown.

Still, TMQ is not sold on the Vikings owing to their cream-puff schedule. Minnesota has played Detroit twice, while also facing St. Louis and Cleveland. The Hyperboreans' opponents are a combined 36-63. The Vikings' only impressive victory is over Baltimore, and in that game, the Ravens missed a potential winning field goal on the final snap. Next up for Minnesota are two solid opponents, Arizona and Cincinnati. After those games, we'll know more."

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